See this thing?
This thing needs to stop. And fast.
Let’s start with raw pork. This whole thing that you can’t eat raw pork because of tapeworm, started off as a scare on Trichinosis in the 1940’s when the disease was not fully understood. So, for 80 years, we’ve been drip-fed that pork should be “well done” to kill off the trichinella eggs.
Well, as French chefs will prove, they ignored this – and still do – serving pork the same way they serve steak: ranging from well done, to medium, to rare, to bleu, to, well, raw. Raw pork is a staple in Europe, and, I will guarantee that unless you don’t eat meat in general, or pork for religious reasons, you most probably already have had raw pork.
Charcuterie products often contain pork, and is seldom cooked. Cabanossi? You’ve had raw pork. Ham? (I mean REAL ham, not the sandwich ham you get at the Cornershop) You’ve had raw pork. My favourite: chorizo sausage? You’ve had raw pork.
But those are cured, so maybe we can make an argument that “curing” is the same as cooking, so maybe my argument fails. Thus; I want to introduce you to pork crudo, a pork sashimi that is becoming the rage in California. In Canada, pork carpaccio is served with maple leaves. And of course, my absolute favourite thing to eat when in Germany (my wife is German), Hackfleisch, otherwise known as ‘mett‘.
Raw pork mince. Served on bread, with salt pepper, and chopped onions. It is frickin’ brilliant.
(I took the above photo in my wife’s cousin’s dining room in Niederzier, Germany, when I tasted it for the first time. It was so damn good, I had to share on social media!)
“Safety” is not an issue with raw pork. Only a serious misunderstanding of how trichinosis works, and Babe the pig is carrying the blame for it.
Which brings us to RAW files in photography… Here is the question: are you an internationally renowned photographic artist like Abosch or Gursky, or are you a photographer doing weddings, family shoots, and stuff like that?
If you are a Gursky, then yeah, keep your RAW files.
The rest of us: we’re not artists, we’re shutter jockeys.
And herewith the truth. The truth that is going to make me many, many enemies: if you don’t want to give out your RAW files because you are scared someone will edit them, then you are a worse photographer than you think you are. If you have such an identifiable style that people want your work for YOU, they would not want to edit the RAW files in the first place. The only time a client would want to edit their own photos, is when they hired a generic shutter-jockey, and now they want to go play. If this is your concern: up your game.
If you are concerned an edit will “ruin your name”, may I please ask you to cite sources. May I please ask to show me one – just one – photographer who had his name ruined because he gave out a RAW file? Anyone? Ever? Nope. Did not happen.
And guess what: if a client wants to edit a photo, they will, even if it’s a JPG.
Wait, what’s that? Client? Yes, you have clients. What is a client? Someone who gives you money in return for a service. Basically, you’re selling bubblegum. Someone wants bubblegum; you have bubblegum, and a transaction takes place. This is the work of a photographer. Our product is not precious. It’s simply product. If you want to make money: give the client what they want. Want my RAW files? Sure, here you go! That will be an extra zero on the invoice – it’s just good business.
“But Gerry,” I hear you say, “you never gave away negatives!” No, because negatives were physical objects for archival purposes. You can still archive a RAW and give it away, it’s bloody digital, isn’t it? Excuse not valid.
So, herewith the bottom line: there is never an excuse not to sell a RAW. If you are scared your clients will edit them, then offer a better quality product so that your clients won’t feel the need to edit them. If you feel a “differently edited” image of your will ruin your name, you don’t understand the market, or human psychology.
Imagine this: “Joe Soap is a shit photographer, I paid for my photos, now he won’t give me the raw files, don’t use him.” versus “Joe soap is a great photographer, he even gave me the raw files to play with! Will recommend him to anyone” – which one do you think will harm your brand, which one will build your brand?
Conclusion: Educated chefs and sophisticated palates can, and do, appreciate raw pork. Educated photographers will give away – or sell – RAW files.
If you want a meme, use this one instead: